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Liqian: The Chinese town founded by Roman legionnaires (saporedicina.com)
39 points by sndean 5 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 19 comments





This hypothesis was already falsified by DNA study long time ago. https://www.nature.com/articles/jhg200782

This is referenced on the article. The title is pure clickbait.

Glad to see this. My first thought was, "Wouldn't DNA show something?"

My first thought too, but with small population breeding with a much larger surrounding population for 100 (20 year) generations could we really expect much roman DNA left?

Maybe they're homeopathic Romans.


They find Neanderthal DNA in people, is it so far fetched?

Good point. I guess the prevalence of the genes in the existing population could explain it. If we took some Europeans and and left them to interbreed in South Africa for 2 millennium we'd probably find much less neanderthal DNA than in their now distant cousins in Europe.

Or more likely is that my simple mathematical thought model breaks down with real world genetics. Any geneticists in the house?


The author asks: "Therefore, where’s the harm in declaring Liqian the town founded by the Roman Lost Legion?"

The harm is that the origin story might well not be true, so why declare it's true? It's like saying Sinterklaas exists.. ehm, well no harm there I think as he does in a way.


Author's conclusion: it probably wasn't, but we'll disregard the facts and pretend that it was, because it helps Chinese tourism.

A fascinating read until the end, it's not based in reality at all. This is faith based archaeology at it's worst. The conclusion is basically "whats the harm in making up this story"...

It's frustrating to me. There seems to be a pattern recently of just making up historical chronologies just because. It's kind of annoying to read about something, research it deeper and then find that it was all just reimagining the actual history to be more entertaining. Or more peaceful. Or maybe just more in line with whatever world view the person putting forth the alternate history is advancing.

I guess it keeps me on my toes, so that's good I suppose. It's just a little annoying that people do this kind of thing. Personally I think that simple recounting of the facts of history is entertaining enough. Why are people trying to embellish it?


> Personally I think that simple recounting of the facts of history is entertaining enough. Why are people trying to embellish it?

People make up history for a few reasons:

- Money.

- Self-aggrandizement.

- So that they can cite it as precedent in an argument.

All three are incredibly common. This looks like #1; Rome is not particularly prestigious in China.


> There seems to be a pattern recently of just making up historical chronologies just because.

To be fair, this "recent pattern" is documented everywhere as far back as writing exists.


> To be fair, this "recent pattern" is documented everywhere as far back as writing exists.

To be fair, on the timescale of anatomically modern humans, writing is a recent development, so “recent pattern” for something that is evidently as old as writing can be true, if you have the right perspective.

(On the other hand, the absence of pre-writing evidence is not evidence of pre-writing absence.)


> (On the other hand, the absence of pre-writing evidence is not evidence of pre-writing absence.)

Heck, I'm willing to state with confidence that the oral histories of preliterate peoples were not accurate and nearly always contained invented, fantastical elements.


My father grew up in a neighboring town to Liqian, in Gansu. This is essentially an urban myth of sorts that several locals still believe, though as the article itself points out, it's been proven false a decade ago. In recent years they've constructed several faux monuments and landmarks in a cheesy emulation of Classical architecture in order to attract tourists.

People want to believe it; it's an interesting theory. However, the genetic diversity in this region comes primarily from Yugurs (a Turkic group related to the Uyghurs which converted to Tibetan Buddhism around a thousand years ago) and Mongolians.


I'll file it along with "Nessie" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Loch_Ness_Monster) and King Arthur (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Arthur) amongst others.

Actually when you prod and poke at these myths, inevitably some damn fine archaeology or science or something else that is real and tangible falls out in some way, or some absolutely beautiful scenery is involved. I have a lot of examples and not enough room in this comment to encompass them all.


Issue with this story is that even the Chinese authorities are dismissive of the idea and generally just let it be to promote local tourism to the area because Liqian is essentially in the middle of nowhere. DNA really just shows them as a sub-group of the Han Chinese majority.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liqian


Every country in the world has its myths and legends. I'm not sure why this one should be seen as different in any way. It is a bit weird though and I live in a country that has the Loch Ness monster apparently existent and King Arthur wedged into past monarchy, somewhere.

Narrator: It wasn't.



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